- Eldon Peterson
To Believe Or To Not Believe
Truth is an absolute. Gravity is true regardless of if we believe it or not. Grass is green, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and no one is without sin but Christ. Hold on, is that a truth or matter of opinion? Historically the Christian faith is founded on truth claims; claims that Christ was without sin, that he died on the cross and that he rose on the third day. Should these be merely matters of opinion, then the Christian message is useless and cannot save anyone.
Truth, not opinions, offers assurance. Paul opens his letter to Titus declaring the importance of truth. It is the truth of what he proclaims that shows us how to live, “I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives.” (Titus 1:1)
It is not Paul’s moral opinions that are to guide our lives, it is the truth of the gospel that shows us how to live. He explains it saying, “This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.” (1:2)
The truth claims of the Bible are absolutes which are either true of false. If they are false, then they are useless. Remember what Paul says about our faith if the resurrection is false, “if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15) Not only that but, “if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (19)
Secularists want to destroy the Christian faith by emphatically stating that these are not truths but only opinions. Do we have an answer? We can answer with more than a “feeling”; we can give reasons as to how we know it to be true. The biblical worldview says that truth has been revealed to us by God in both our hearts and in His Word.
First, Jesus tells us that he has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to both instruct and to convict of sin, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you… It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 14:26, 16:7-8)
Paul echoes this in Romans saying, “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (1:19–20) God has spoken into our hearts; are we listening?
In addition to the Holy Spirit giving instruction, we also have the historical biblical text. It is not just “someone’s opinion” it is God’s testimony to us. National polls reveal a growing distrust that the Bible is the literal word of God. A record-low 20% of Americans now say that the Bible is the literal word of God. Meanwhile, a new high of 29% say the Bible is a collection of "fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."
Is the Bible truth or merely opinions, and why the continual shift from believing the Bible to be God’s word to believing it is fables or legends? The shift isn’t due to newly discovered evidence but rather a consequence of our cultures replacing biblical authority with opinions. The question is, “Are we content in opinions that makes us comfortable, or will we passionately seek out truth?” Maybe Jesus’ words will help in your decision, “The truth shall set you free!”